Being an entrepreneur, managing a startup business translates into long hours at work where you’re trying to juggle tons of different roles at once. No matter how well-organized you are, taking time off seems like an impossible task. And, even if you can take a break, you don’t because you firmly believe in Murphy’s Law when it comes to your precious business.
Do you think back with fondness to the days when you held a regular job and took off for the holidays and vacations without a care? With a little planning, you can do that even now. The holidays are a special time to spend with your family and you’ll want to be completely focused on them. Here’s what you can do to be truly home for the holidays.
Plan Well Ahead
No one knows your business better than you. That makes you the best person to anticipate all the possible activities when you’re away and plan in advance for them.
- Contact all your clients, suppliers and any other people you deal with on a regular basis. Let them know that you’re away for the holidays and name the person you’ve designated to take care of them. Assure them that all issues will be dealt with as efficiently as when you are around. You could also ask them to delay their orders until after the holidays.
- Make sure that all sales enquiries will be handled right away so you don’t lose business when you’re away.
- Plan your finances so that all payments are made on time and the business is not affected if the suppliers or delivery services are not paid.
- If necessary, set up an automatic email reply system that lets people know that you’re away for the holidays and will get back to them when you return.
- You could divide all expected tasks for the holidays into three categories. The ones that you must deal with before you take off, the ones that you’ll manage if you have the time, and finally, the ones you can take care of when you get back.
Find Responsible Substitutes
Designate and delegate responsibilities to employees you can completely rely on. Of course, if there are tasks that only you can handle, you can reschedule them until after you get back. Look for people within your company or hire some temporary help if you don’t have a partner. Not everyone celebrates the holidays, so you could entrust important tasks to people that celebrate at other times of the year. Look for a virtual assistant or professional managers, or enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend.
Reprogram All Electronic Devices
It’s going to be tempting to check your emails or you planner every now and then. And, you’ll feel like it’s impossible to get by without checking with the people you left in charge. During these holidays reprogram all your gadgets so you can check them only when you want to. Turn off your phone and direct all calls to voicemail so you can check when you have the time. In fact, experts recommend that you switch off your phone the minute you leave your workplace and step right into the holiday mood.
Before leaving, check all the unwanted mail you regularly receive and unsubscribe from them so you’re not disturbed. You could also redirect them to a separate folder. Turn off the email on your smartphone and depend on text messaging for a few days. If you absolutely must, allocate half an hour each day before bedtime to check your email for emergency situations. This will help you stay in touch and reassure yourself that the business is being managed well in your absence. But, remind yourself that you need not answer each and every mail you receive. A delay of a couple of days will not hurt the business.
Establish an Emergency Protocol
Set a system that your staff needs to follow when you’re away for the holidays. Let them know of the situations in which they can contact you and which they can handle on their own. You could also pick a particular staff member who will be in charge of contacting you in case there is a situation that needs to be dealt with right away. Or, set up a specific time when you’ll be open to receiving calls.
Build up on the Holiday Cheer
Plan your festivities so carefully that you won’t be tempted to give up on your plans. And, let your staff know well in advance that you won’t be available on the big day. As they start preparing themselves for your absence, you’ll feel a lot more confident about leaving. Further, the announcement that you’re taking time off becomes some kind of a commitment that you need to live up to. Here’s another tip. Begin planning for the bonuses, gifts, and office party you’ll be throwing before you leave. That’s another incentive to stick with your plans of being home for the holidays
If you don’t feel good about leaving, take short breaks in the days leading up to the big day. For instance, you could go shopping during lunch. Or, meet up with a friend or family member an hour before closing so you can discuss the arrangements. This will not only give your staff time to get used to your being away, but you’ll also be able to reassure yourself that they can manage without you.
Using these strategies, you can condition yourself to put your business worries aside for the holidays and enjoy the valuable time you can spend with your family. Remember, spending time with your family will make you a better person, a better leader, and a better business owner.